Mikee Romero says those involved in game-fixing 'must be severely punished'

VisMin Super Cup fallout (3:03)

Outrage came from all sectors after a controversial VisMin Super Cup game on Wednesday where the league said the Siquijor Mystics threw the match against the Lapu Lapu City Heroes. (3:03)

Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman party list believes that the players, coaches, and officials involved in the farcical showdown between Lapu-Lapu City and Siquijor should be meted the most severe penalty if proven guilty of game-fixing.

Romero, who is also a known sportsman, said that the people involved in these kinds of nefarious activities must be completely banned from playing in any league.

"For showing disgraceful acts the players, staff, officials and the persons behind these shenanigans must be severely punished," said Romero.

"They have no place in Philippine sports, basketball in particular," added Romero after watching clips of the controversial match.

Due to the questionable events of April 14, the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup management decided to banish Siquijor, and suspend several players and the head coach of Lapu-Lapu City.

Romero also called on law enforcement agencies to ramp up their investigation of the event, since what had happened in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup is "tarnishing the image of Philippine sports."

As an effort to help curb the illegal practices of game-fixing and point shaving, Romero authored House Bill No. 8870, which seeks to expand the definition of game-fixing that was formulated in the 1970s.

Game-fixing had been declared illegal since Presidential Decree 483 was signed by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974, and was strengthened by P.D. 1602 in 1978.

The decree defines game fixing as "any arrangement, combination, scheme or agreement by which the result of any game, races or sports contests shall be predicted and/or known other than on the basis of the honest playing skill or ability of the players or participants."

However, the new bill, which had been approved by the Lower House in its third and final reading last March 14 with a vote of 211-0, will impose more severe penalties to those found guilty of the deed. Coverage includes amateur and professional sports.

Convicted game fixers may be sentenced from three to six years behind bars, along with a fine between P1 to 5 million. In addition, athletes, promoters, referees, umpires, judges, or coaches who are found guilty will be imprisoned from six to 12 years under the new law. They will also be fined between P1 million and 5 million.

Life imprisonment awaits those involved in a syndicate, and a fine of between P10 to 50 million pesos. Game fixing by syndicate is defined as carried out by a group of three or more persons "conspiring or confederating with one another" to perform game-fixing or point shaving, or threatening athletes to do the act.

Aside from a fine, convicted game fixers and point-shavers will be handed down a lifetime ban from participating in amateur and professional ranks.